Energy Consumption in the Residential Sector since 1973
Bertrand Chateau and Bruno LaPillonne
The first oil shock brought a significant change in the evolution of energy consumption in the residential sector: after two decades of regular growth, the energy consumption per dwelling slowed down and even decreased after 1974. Many analysts have tried to explain this change either in terms of price response (the econometric approach) or in terms of the effect of energy savings policy (considering all the reductions in the energy consumption as a result of these policies). This chapter discusses the methodological problems raised by the evaluation of energy savings and behavioral changes.
The first oil shock, which occurred in 1973-74, marked the end of a period of regular growth in household energy consumption in most industrialized countries. Between 1973 and 1975, average consumption per household fell dramatically and then stabilized (even showing a slight increase) until 1979. The second oil shock (in 1979) produced yet another shift in unit consumption that was even more marked than after the first shock. Between 1973 and 1982, as can be seen from Table 3.1, average energy consumption per household tended to decrease in most countries, in contrast to the period before the crisis.